13 Gender-Neutral Alternatives to “Man-Hours”

You want to talk about the amount of work that could be done within an hour, but “man-hours” feels a little exclusionary.

Fret not! In this article, we’ve compiled a list of gender-neutral alternatives to this phrase so you can keep up with the times and make all your employees or colleagues feel included!

Gender-Neutral Alternatives to “Man-Hours”

  • Billable hours
  • Work-hours
  • Effort
  • Labor-hours
  • Core time
  • Business-hours
  • Person-hours
  • Staff-hours
  • Hours
  • Hours of work
  • Hours of labor
  • Hours of effort
  • Worker-hours


  • The phrase “man-hours” is considered politically incorrect and outdated.
  • In formal circumstances such as corporate settings, “billable hours” is a good gender-neutral alternative.
  • In more industrial settings, the phrase “work-hours” is a more inclusive phrase.

Keep reading to see how we use our choice of formal and informal synonyms for “man-hours” in a couple of example sentences.

After that, we’ll consider whether the original phrase is still acceptable in modern times, or whether we should leave this phrase behind for good.

Billable Hours (Formal)

If you’re looking for a gender-neutral term for “man-hours” that can be used in formal circumstances, we would recommend the phrase “billable hours.”

After all, we can define “man-hours” as the hours of actual work done by an employee to determine their cost accounting and wages. Similarly, billable hours are the hours of actual work done that we can bill.

We often use the phrase “billable hours” in legal and corporate firms, where employees clock in and measure their hours of work to determine how a client should be billed. “Man-hours” are considered more of an industrial unit.

However, we see no reason why this gender-neutral alternative cannot replace the original in most circumstances.

Consider the example sentences below to see this phrase in action:

We consider the number of billable hours produced by our team to measure their productivity.

This year, our billable hours grew up to 15%.

Work-Hours (Informal)

If you’re wondering what to say instead of “man-hours” in informal situations, we reckon “work-hours” is another great gender-neutral option.

This phrase can be used in more industrial industries – the kind where the phrase “man-hours” is most often used. It may not be as suited to more corporate or commercial positions, but it is still a better phrase than “man-hours” if you’re aiming to be politically correct.

To see this alternative in action, consider the following examples:

Our new strategy should save time, costs, and work-hours as our department expands.

We’ll need to produce far more materials in fewer work-hours this year.

Is “Man-Hours” Politically Correct?

In modern times, “man-hours” and “man-days” are not politically correct for a number of reasons.

Firstly, several studies show that work phrases that exclude women and other genders can distort public perceptions about the role of non-men in the workforce.

Secondly, people often use “man-hours” in industries like construction and manufacturing. These are presently male-dominated roles, but things are changing. Thus, many people argue that our language should change too.

Finally, we consider the term “man-hours” outdated. As you can see from our list of synonyms, there are several better options available to use.

In summary, we’d be better off leaving the phrase “man-hours” behind for a more inclusive and politically correct alternative.

If you want to keep our list of alternative phrases in mind, go ahead and bookmark this page!